Funeral for Fallen Away Catholic(s)

Is it possible to have a funeral service without a Mass, like for a wedding between Catholic & non-Catholic? A dear man I know is dying, and found out last week he had a return of Cancer to his spine but is being hospitalized for pneumonia.

Prayers for him and his family are appreciated. He realized he needed to make arrangements and despite not having gone through the process for annulment of his first marriage, wanted a funeral from one of our parishes here.

Thank you for your answer.

Perhaps he wants the Sacrament of Anointing too? Ask your Parish Priest to visit him. He would only be too glad to do so!

Do you mean a funeral service in a Catholic Church? I confess that I don’t know the rules about that but I rather doubt if your friend doesn’t belong to a parish or has not attended Mass in a long time, it would be allowed. However, you or your friend’s family might be able to ask a priest to conduct the prayers at the cemetary. There are many priests who would do this gladly.
The Annointing of the Sick should be the first step.

Yes! Ask a priest to go visit him . He should be going to confession and recieving a holy send off. The state of his soul is the most important issue here not what type of service he has after death.

Maria,

The important thing to worry about right now is to have a priest visit him and (at least attempt) to reconcile him to the Church. Concentrate your energies here. Given that you’ve said he wants a Catholic funeral, it’s a very realistic expectation that he will do so while “there’s still time.”

I would suggest that someone contact his pastor. Considering his situation it is most possible that the pastor can hear his Confession and return him to full standing with the Church. Which would allow him to receive Holy Communion and Anointing of the Sick.

Only guessing here… He is still Catholic. He is not practicing and in need of confession, but he should still be able to be sent off with a full funeral.

That’s probably true (as long as he’s not in a situation of outright opposing the Faith, which does not seem to be the case). But since he’s still alive, it’s more important right now to be concerned with helping him to reconcile himself to God and the Church since it’s better for the funeral to be one for a Catholic who was in good standing at his death, than for one who was not.

=FrDavid96. That’s probably true (as long as he’s not in a situation of outright opposing the Faith, which does not seem to be the case). But since he’s still alive, it’s more important right now to be concerned with helping him to reconcile himself to God and the Church since it’s better for the funeral to be one for a Catholic who was in good standing at his death, than for one who was not.

Personally. I wish that the OP’s friend will be able to receive a full Catholic funeral. Fr. David, perhaps you can clear up a few questions for me . It seems that you are saying that any Catholic, no matter how long they have been away from the Church is entitled to a Catholic funeral as long as they have confessed prior to death? This I do understand. However, in the case of someone who has divorced and remarried without an annulment how would confession prior to death bring that person back into full communion with the Church? I know that reconciliation with God is the most important issue in this case but what exactly is the position of the Church?
Years ago, a friend that I grew up with, lost his father after a long illness. The father, a Catholic, had been divorced and remarried. No annulment. He and his wife brought up their children in the Catholic faith, and attended Mass regularly. After his death, the pastor of his church refused to allow a Catholic funeral Mass, giving as one reason the scandal it would cause among the faithful of the parish who all knew the irregular situation of the family. Oddly enough, the family, although saddened by this decision, didn’t put up any objections.
Is it up to the individual pastor or is there a clear ruling by the Church as to whether or not a Catholic has a right to a Catholic funeral Mass in situations such as the OP’s question?

Being reconciled to God and the Church means just that–which is why it’s so important for him to see a priest. Once he is reconciled (and confession would be a part of that), he’s certainly entitled to a Catholic funeral.

Canon 1184 addresses this. Unless they have expressed repentance before death, the following are denied funeral rites:
-Apostates, heretics and schismatics
-One who chose cremation for an anti-Christian reason
-“Other manifest sinners for whom ecclesiastical funeral rites cannot be granted without public scandal to the faithful.”

It’s up to the pastor to interpret that last prohibition, and if there’s doubt, the bishop is to be consulted. We have to ask “what constitutes a legitimate scandal?” The fact that a person is divorced and remarried does not necessarily exclude the possibility of a Catholic funeral. The issue is the scandal which might or might not occur as a result, and that will depend upon the person’s attitude in life. For example, one who “flaunts” the fact of divorced-remarried would be in a different position than one who sincerely repented of the situation and had a desire to set things right.

As a more direct answer to your question, the position of the Church is indeed clear, but how that position is to be applied in individual cases is very subjective and depends on the circumstances.

Thanks for the answer, Fr. David.

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